13 Strides

Teesside graduate transforms from athlete to successful entrepreneur

An international athlete who transformed into a successful entrepreneur has been selected by Vince Cable as an example of graduate entrepreneurs invigorating the economy.

Anthony Borsumato had enjoyed success as a 400 metre hurdler but his career came to an abrupt end when he was 29 ,following an injury.

Whilst recovering in hospital, Anthony enrolled on an MSc Multimedia Applications course at Teesside University.

After gaining grounding in design and programming, Anthony launched his digital sports agency, ‘13 Strides’ which now counts Channel 4, Microsofy and Nova International among its clients.

The company has been selected to feature in a national campaign ‘start up: a story’ to celebrate the contribution graduate entrepreneurs and university enterprise are making to the UK economy.

Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable launched the campaign, by the University Alliance and Association of College and University Entrepreneurs, at the Houses of Parliament.

Anthony said: “I spent my twenties travelling the world doing the 400 metre hurdles.

“It’s not a career that can last forever and it came to an abrupt halt when I was 29, at the World Championships in Paris.

“I hit one of the hurdles, landed badly and shattered my ankle.

“My cousin Kevin, also a hurdler, and I had always had our eye on starting a business together.

“Combining a love for sport and digital skills, we created a digital agency focused exclusively on sport, and called it 13 Strides, the optimum number of paces between barriers in the 400 metre hurdles.

“I approached Teesside’s enterprise arm and they had space for us in their incubation centre and we started-up.

“The guidance we got from daily courses and drop in sessions with lawyers was great but I think being surrounded by ambitious and like-minded people was just as important.

“There were always lights on somewhere in the building and, being competitive, it inspired us to keep working hard.

“Brendan Foster, Chairman of Nova International, came to meet us at Teesside and being based at the University with so much talent around became a part of the pitch.

“They’re now our biggest client.”

13 Strides, which is housed in Teesside University’s Phoenix Building, is continuing to expand and now has seven members of staff, all from Teesside University’s School of Computing.

Professor Cliff Hardcastle, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Business Engagement) at Teesside University, attended thel aunch event at the Houses of Parliament.

He said: “13 Strides is the perfect example of what a graduate start-up business can achieve and I am delighted to see them receiving national recognition of this nature.

“Anthony and his team used their sporting background and academic knowledge to really deliver a niche service and we are proud to have played a part in their success.

“As the University for Business, we value our contribution to the regional and national economy and being engaged with business is absolutely at the heart of everything we do.

“We will never stop being committed to the economy of the North East and we will never stop working with business.

“ I will continue to encourage people to have ideas and encourage people to be responsive and flexible, so that we can provide the best opportunities we possibly can.“

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